Ketchum, ID — Longtime vintage racer and car collector Bob Baker died Oct. 8 at the age of 88.
Baker, who frequently teamed up with his son, Danny, in the pits and on the track at vintage race events, continued to compete well into his 80s and posted some of his fastest laps in those years. He also partnered with his son, Bruce, for Italy’s 1,000-mile Mille Miglia rally in 1988 and 1989; the first time in a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Scaglietti Spider and the second time in a 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta.
Baker began collecting cars at age 48, and his collection included a 1983 Williams that won a world championship, a 1979 Ferrari T4 driven by Gilles Villeneuve, a 1973 McLaren driven by Peter Revson, a 1968 Brabham BT-26 driven by Jackie Ickx that won the 1969 Canadian Grand Prix and finished second in Mexico, a World Championship winning Brabham 1967 Lotus 49B and a 1973 Yardley-McLaren M23/3 that Jody Scheckter raced at the French and British GPs that year.
“As time went on, showing cars got sort of boring, so I began to race historic cars, including Jaguars, Maseratis and Ferraris from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s,” Baker commented to an interviewer earlier this year.
Racing filled a void created when Baker sold his family’s grocery store business — started in 1927 by his father — in 1992 after years of 90-hour work weeks.
Baker moved from sports cars into the Atlantic Series, then raced Formula Juniors before eventually settling on Formula 1 cars, competing in them at numerous venues including Monaco, Laguna Seca, Infineon in Sonoma, Road Atlanta and Road America.
A memorial service was held Friday (Oct. 26) in Ketchum.